Unionists need to remember the Irish Language is cultural, not political…

In light of recent political events, it’s good every once in a while, to pause and take stock, assess where we are; where we’ve come from and the future direction, if any. This can be said of both Unionism and Nationalism, both sides of the Brexit argument and even those who spend their political lives perennially sitting on the fence. Colum Eastwood’s ‘cross-community anti-Brexit axis’ was a novel and clever attempt to forge new ground. In doing so, it left … Read more

The last bastion of Ulster Unionism in Belfast is teetering on the brink…

At it’s zenith – possibly due to what some might call the electoral dividends of delivering peace in Northern Ireland – the UUP polled 25,272 across the 4 Belfast Constituencies, polling 9,620 and 9,533 in East and South Belfast respectively. However, by 2007, the UUP had shed over 10,000 votes in the Belfast Area with sharp declines in East and South Belfast bringing the vote share across Belfast to 15,145. Just last May, the UUP share had fallen to it’s … Read more

Robinson’s plan for the consolidation of unionism appears to be working

As we approach the end of February 2015, the window for electoral pacts is all but shut, with candidates having precious little time to build profile let alone momentum in a campaign.  To this end I’ve decided to look at the potential future for the two main Unionist Parties over the next 15 months, leading into the Assembly Elections of May 2016 and after. May 2015 – All eyes are on South Antrim and Upper Bann.  Nesbitt needs a win … Read more

What now, and where now for a Unionist electoral pact?

Late last night the news broke that the DUP have selected Jonathan Bell MLA to stand in South Belfast in the coming election whilst today the Ulster Unionist Party will announce Cllr Chris McGimpsey as their East Belfast candidate. These actions have been deemed by the media to mean an end to the pact negotiations between Mike Nesbitt and Peter Robinson. Should this suggestion be true it places Unionism is a much weakened position going into May. In my previous … Read more

Mike Nesbitt should sit down with Peter Robinson and extract a win-win deal for political unionism

Many will be aware of the Belfast Telegraph’s interesting take on East Belfast this week alongside the excellent work of Bill White and Lucid Talk.  The results of this poll are not unexpected. Naomi won in 2010 by 1533 and according to today’s poll there is approximately 1500 votes between the two, meaning this seat is still a marginal. Turning to the key battlegrounds, Gilnahirk/Cherryvalley/Tullycarnet/Knock is 3 to 1 in support of Alliance over the DUP, with Ballyhackamore/Belmont/Stormont 2 to … Read more

Stormont House Agreement – One Month On – A Progress Report

Amidst months of wrangling and the now expected media circus and PM visits, the parties reached agreement on what we now know as the Stormont House Agreement. One month on, it may be useful to check it’s progress to date: “4. A balanced budget for 2015-16 needs to be agreed in January.” Last week saw DFP Minister Simon Hamilton MLA outline the proposals to the Assembly following conclusion of the consultation period. All in all, it makes a decent fist … Read more